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Driver in fatal wreck released from hospital

Published Oct. 13, 2005

The driver who lost control of her car Sunday in a crash that killed a man and two children was released from the hospital Monday. Two women injured in the crash remained hospitalized, one in critical condition and one in fair, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Sheriff's investigators say Pamela Ryan, 36, of Lutz was driving south on Nebraska Avenue just south of Florida Avenue when she lost control of her 1979 Mercury and collided with a 1988 Toyota truck.

No charges were filed by Monday evening.

A passenger in the Mercury, Janet Hrifko, was in critical condition Monday with head injuries, a spinal fracture and cuts. A passenger in the Toyota, Teresa Kirkman, 27, of Lutz, was hospitalized with facial cuts and a broken left arm. She is eight months pregnant.

Killed were Janet Hrifko's 8-year-old daughter, Kathleen; Ryan's son, Larry Gordon, 8, and Janet Hrifko's boyfriend, Brian Lynch, 29, of Lutz.

Harold Hrifko, Janet Hrifko's father, said he visited his daughter at the hospital Monday.

"When I talk to her, she responds. At least I hope so," he said. "There is some awareness there."

Hrifko said his daughter, granddaughter and their friends were coming back from boating when the accident happened.

"She was a sweet little girl," Hrifko said of Kathleen. "When I called her on the phone, she knew it was me right away. She'd say, "Hello, grandpa.' She had a joy in her voice. It made me feel good."

Hrifko said his daughter does not know that Kathleen died in the accident.

"My daughter was a devoted mother," he said. "When she does find out, I don't know what will happen."